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Our History

For more than 36 years, Chemonics has remained dedicated to helping people live healthier, more productive, and more independent lives.






Chemonics International is founded in Washington, D.C., by the company's first president, Thurston F. Teele. Its mission, then and now, is to promote meaningful change around the world, helping people live healthier, more productive, and more independent lives. 1975 Landmark agribusiness studies in Cameroon and Kenya represent Chemonics’ earliest work, earning high praise from USAID, the company’s primary client.


Chemonics launches its first long-term effort for USAID, a rural economic development project in Mali. The commitment to work in sub-Saharan Africa has remained unbroken for more than 30 years.


The company initiates its first projects in Asia: one to improve financial management and marketing for the Afghan Fertilizer Company and the other to conduct an investment analysis for Thailand’s Board of Trade.







A large program, Egypt Basic Village Services, marks the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship between Chemonics and the people of the Middle East. This project also represents the company’s first major contributions to municipal governance, finance, and infrastructure.


Within a decade of its founding, Chemonics is active on four continents and in every field of international development.


The company adapts to rapid growth by establishing regional divisions to respond to the priorities of individual countries and USAID missions. This decentralized structure is still in place.







Chemonics collaborates with a group of local professionals to launch a management-services affiliate in Egypt. This affiliate, Chemonics Egypt, is the first and longest-lived of many partnerships Chemonics has formed to tap local expertise in the service of development.


The company begins to serve transitional governments and nurture emerging markets in more than a dozen former Soviet bloc countries. Chemonics specialists win praise for groundbreaking work in privatizing banking, business, and land assets.


The Environment and Infrastructure Group, Chemonics’ first technical division, is launched to leverage growing knowledge about urban and regional environmental issues. In addition to USAID, the group works with a range of U.S. government agencies, bilateral and multilateral donors, and public institutions worldwide.


In what was then the largest, most ambitious environmental management project in USAID history, Chemonics sets out to tackle air pollution in Cairo and to reduce the impact of industrial pollution on the health of Egyptians.


Chemonics sponsors “Propaganda and Dreams,” an exhibition of U.S. and Soviet photography from the 1930s. The exhibition is part of a series of Chemonics grants designed to highlight artwork that raises public awareness of international development. A more recent project, “Secret Games” in 2001, featured efforts to empower children in disadvantaged communities.


With a new shareholder structure that grants part ownership to senior managers, Chemonics becomes an independent company.







The International Health Group is established to respond to the urgent need to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and other threats to human health.


 Founder and President Thurston F. Teele names his successor, Ashraf Rizk. In April 2002, Teele was appointed chairman of the board, and Rizk took over as president and CEO.


In an effort to help fight tuberculosis in the Philippines, Chemonics launches its first major stand-alone project in health care. The company also begins one of several large activities to revitalize agriculture and municipal services in Afghanistan.


Chemonics sponsors the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign as part of an increasing effort to promote the importance of U.S. foreign assistance. Simultaneously, the company launches an initiative to help agricultural producers in developing countries increase their competitiveness though better understanding of international grades and standards.


Chemonics builds on its emerging status as an international development leader with company-wide campaigns to share knowledge more broadly, train and support a new generation of development professionals, and formalize ethical and professional standards for international development work.


Founder Thurston F. Teele passes away on March 21 at age 70. After stepping down as president and CEO in 2001, Teele, who started Chemonics as a one-man business in 1975, had remained with the company as chairman of the board.


In May, 11 Afghans are killed in two separate attacks in southern Afghanistan. Among those killed are four Chemonics employees working on the USAID Alternative Incomes Project in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.


Senior Vice Presidents Susanna Mudge and Richard Dreiman are named executive vice presidents. The move is designed to allow Chemonics to be more responsive to the needs of its clients and project beneficiaries around the world.


On April 1, Richard Dreiman becomes Chemonics’ third president and CEO, succeeding Ashraf Rizk, who retires after 25 years of service. Rizk remains on Chemonics’ Board of Directors.


In September, ownership shifts following a transfer of shares to minority shareholder Eyk Van Otterloo from majority shareholder Scott Spangler. Van Otterloo becomes new chairman, and Barbara Teele is elected to the board.


Chemonics creates new corporate standards for project excellence. These standards are designed to elevate the level of service that the firm is able to provide and to maximize development impact and the return on donor investments.


Chemonics establishes a new regional division, Afghanistan and Pakistan. As well, the company integrates management of its health portfolio into its regional divisions, with the International Health Group providing technical leadership company-wide.







Chemonics has achieved ISO 9001 certification of its innovative Quality Management System. Chemonics developed this system, and then sought ISO 9001 certification, to ensure the firm delivers quality services and products to its clients through clear and consistent business processes.


Chemonics celebrates 35 years in the service of development.


Chemonics transitions to full employee ownership, reaffirming its commitment to promoting meaningful change around the world and helping people live healthier, more productive, and more independent lives.


Chemonics restructures its regional divisions, moving from six regional divisions to 13 regional business units. The changes create smaller, more flexible, and more responsive regional units that will allow regional staff to respond more quickly and effectively to client requirements and market opportunities.


Susi Mudge becomes the fourth President and CEO of Chemonics International and the first woman to serve in that role.


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